In dealing James Harden to the Rockets, the Thunder ensured that the gold medalist will likely remain in the Western Conference for years to come. In his weekly Morning Tip piece at NBA.com, TNT's David Aldridge notes that while that may come as a surprise, there weren't many logical fits with Eastern Conference clubs.
The Thunder liked Bradley Beal, but the Wizards weren't interested in dealing the third overall pick. Brian Schmitz of the Orlando Sentinel, meanwhile, tweets that the Magic had some pieces that could have enticed Oklahoma City, but Orlando probably wouldn't have given Harden the max. The Magic ended up not getting involved in the Harden sweepstakes, tweets Josh Robbins of the Orlando Sentinel.
Here are a few more Monday afternoon updates from around the Western Conference, with just over 24 hours until the NBA regular season gets underway:
- Within his NBA.com column, Aldridge reports that the final sale price of the Grizzlies to Robert Pera's ownership group was $377MM.
- Wayne Ellington remains unlikely to be extended by the Grizzlies before Wednesday, according to Ronald Tillery of the Memphis Commercial Appeal.
- Tim MacMahon of ESPNDallas.com wonders if carrying so many players in contract years could blow up for the Mavericks.
- NBA.com's Scott Howard-Cooper spoke to Seattle mayor Mike McGinn about the possibility of the NBA returning to his city. McGinn said that he's rooting for Sacramento to keep the Kings, since he knows what it feels like to lose a team, but is still hopeful about professional basketball coming back to Seattle.
- Nuggets center JaVale McGee is going to have to learn how to deal with the burden of having a big contract and the attention that brings, writes Adrian Dater of the Denver Post.
- The Lakers and Clippers both head into the 2012/13 season hoping that revamped benches will help them contend for a title, says Jill Painter of the Los Angeles Daily News.
- Sam Smith of Bulls.com believes that, even without Harden, the Thunder are the team to beat in the Western Conference.
- Luke Zeller's contract includes a $50K guarantee, so if he opens the season with the Suns, that doesn't mean he'll be with the team all year, says Mark Deeks of ShamSports (Twitter links).